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Illnesses That Black People Should Be Aware Of and What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

Some diseases strike black people harder and more often than they do white people. This may be terrifying to know, but in this article, you will learn more about these illnesses and what you can do to lessen your risk of having any of them.

Karen Cruz
Karen Cruz

Some diseases strike black people harder and more often than they do white people. This may be terrifying to know, but in this article, you will learn more about these illnesses and what you can do to lessen your risk of having any of them.

Diabetes

Did you know that diabetes is 60% more common in black people than in white people? That is according to WebMD reports. And based on research, black people are up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a limb amputation and they are up to 5.6 times more likely to have kidney disease than any other races with diabetes. And what is more concerning, this disease is especially bad for African-American women who are 2.4 times more likely to have diabetes than white women. You might be wondering why. A study states that one of the major factors why black people suffer diabetes more than any other race is the weight. It was found out that 50% of the extra risk black women carried was because of having excess fat. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body cannot make or use insulin properly. You can prevent diabetes by reducing the portion size of the food that you eat. You can try filling your plate with 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains, 1/2 vegetables, and low-fat or skim milk. Exercising every day also helps a lot in reducing your risk of having diabetes. A simple march in place or a 30-minute walk outside is okay.

Hypertension/High blood pressure

According to WebMD, African-Americans often develop hypertension earlier in life. It is reported that 42% of black men and 45% of black women over 20 suffer from high blood pressure. It can be genetic factors as African-Americans in the United States seem to be more sensitive to salt that can increase their risk of high blood pressure or it can be environmental factors as inequality and discrimination (which can affect health outcomes) are higher in the United States. But there are things you can do to lessen your risks of high blood pressure. Reduce salt and fat in your diet and lose weight if you are overweight. Exercising regularly can also help, as well as giving up smoking and increasing your potassium intake.

Asthma

Warning: This might scare you or cause panic especially if you are suffering from asthma.

African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma than white people, according to WebMD. It was also found that African-Americans are more likely to be hospitalized or visit emergency rooms for asthma. Genetic differences can be a reason for this. Other factors are air quality, housing quality, segregation, or racism in the neighborhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement of how you can treat asthma. They reported that you can control your asthma and avoid an attack by taking your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to do and by avoiding things that can cause an attack.

Lung Cancer

African-Americans are 30% to 50% more likely to get lung cancer. This might surprise you cause black people smoke less tobacco than white people. The reason for this could be genetics, air pollution in living and working environments, and differences in treatment. But if you smoke, the best thing you can do to lessen your risk of getting lung cancer is to stop smoking.

Sickle Cell Anemia

It is not surprising that sickle cell disease affects black people more than it does white people. If you are not aware of this disease, Sickle Cell Disease or SCD is most common among people with African ancestors. People from other regions like the Mediterranean and Asia are also susceptible. Based on the report of the CDC, this Sickle Cell disease mostly occurs among people with ancestors from places where malaria was common. SCD is a red blood cell disorder that is genetically inherited. When you have this disease, your red blood cells that should be round become hard and shaped like the letter "C". Cells like these die earlier than healthy cells would, causing a shortage of red blood cells. Symptoms of SCD include pain, swelling in the hands and feet, and vision loss. Complications include anemia, leg ulcers, stroke, pneumonia, and problems with the spleen. The only cure for this disease is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. However, a bone marrow transplant is very risky and can cause death. That is why it is only processed in sever cases of SCD.

I hope this article can help you in reducing your risk of having any of these diseases. Now that you know that the illnesses we mentioned above affect black people more than other races, it is better to take steps toward keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy.

If you want to get more beauty advice and some hair care tips for dark-skinned women, check out Black Lifestyle.